From the Digital Workplace to Digital HR to Sustainable HR

The Path to HR Sustainability

The path to HR sustainability

For those of us active in the realm of HR and business, “digital HR” and the “digital workplace” have been hot topics. But as is often the case with new terminology and buzzwords, they can mean different things to different people. We’ve thought a lot about the challenges HR faces and the role of “digital” in addressing them, and it’s more encompassing than many of the definitions we’ve seen. The digital workplace is what powers digital HR, which in turn enables HR to sustain itself in the face of disruption.

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Sustainable HR is the goal

First, let’s look at the end goal—sustainable HR—and what that means. Business disruption is rampant—new business models, new technologies, a challenging economic environment, and the overall quickening pace of business are all disruptive to “business as usual.” Workforce demographics and trends—retiring Boomers, high-expectation Millennials, workforce-on-demand models, team-based work—are another disruption. HR sustainability is about HR (1) maintaining its stability and focus despite disruption, (2) being adaptable in the face of disruption, and in turn (3) helping the business be stable and adaptable in its response to disruption.

Digital HR enables HR sustainability

Next, let’s look at how digital HR enables HR sustainability. When we thought about how HR becomes sustainable, we kept arriving at the same four capabilities—what we call the 4Cs. HR should be able to…

  • Create capacity, freeing up time by eliminating mundane repetitive tasks and enabling HR professionals and customers alike to focus on more value-added activities.
  • Grow capability in its own people and in its customers via a rich, curated, just-in-time learning environment.
  • Empower community, tapping into a variety of internal and external networks as sources for information, learning, and collaboration.
  • Boost credibility within the organization by consistently meeting its customers’ needs.

Digital HR, a top 10 Global Human Capital Trend for 2016, enables HR to accomplish the 4Cs by applying digital principles to HR operations. While this could involve a mix of social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) technologies, it encompasses more than technology. It’s also about using design thinking to reimagine HR processes and the HR customer experience, trying new approaches, gathering feedback, communicating bilaterally (company to employee, employee to company, employee to employee, company to company), and continually making iterative improvements.

The digital workplace powers digital HR

Finally, we come to the digital workplace—one of the ways organizations can accomplish digital HR. The digital workplace is a solution for engaging employees in all the services they have available to them at work. It’s about automating transactions that are manual today (creating capacity). It’s about targeting information and learning content to employees to help them do their jobs (growing capability), just as social media sites target posts based on member preferences. It’s about bringing the social communication concept to the workplace to connect people (empowering community). And it’s about harvesting data to enable analytics that provide informed insight about how the company is operating and how employees can better perform their jobs.

We have more of our thinking behind the digital buzz (and how we’re addressing it with our own mobile digital workplace, ConnectMe), in our publication, Sustainable HR in an age of disruption. Check it out for additional insights on the digital workplace and how it can propel digital HR on the path to sustainability.

About the Author:


Michael Gretczko is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for Digital HR & Innovation. He collaborates with large, complex, and global clients to identify and bring to market innovative products and solutions that deliver on their business needs.

Source: The path to HR sustainability – HR Times – The HR Blog

HR Tech Is So Dynamic and Still Has Very Much a Work in Progress

Interview with Bill Kutik

Today our interview is with Bill Kutik, one of the top four HR Technology influencers in the US, and the industry’s leading producer of shows – live and online.

For 19 months, his independent broadcast-quality video series called Firing Line with Bill Kutik® has featured monthly interviews with leading HR tech thought-leaders on YouTube.

Since 1990, he has been monthly Technology Columnist for the US trade magazine Human Resource Executive (you can read his columns at Human Resource Executive Online®).

But he’s probably best known as founding co-chairman (sometimes called “The Father” or even “The Godfather”) of the magazine’s famous annual event, the HR Technology® Conference & Exhibition, the world’s largest held every October in the US. He began it in 1998 and stepped aside for new leadership in 2013.

The Bill Kutik Radio Show®, his previous online talk show with industry leaders, has suspended new shows but many people are still listening to its 183 podcasts in the archive at HRE Online.

In 2012, the magazine named him one of the “10 Most Powerful HR Technology Experts.” He previously wrote for The New York Times and has a BA degree from Harvard University.

The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.

  1. Hi Bill, and first of all thank you very much for this interview with The HR Tech Weekly®. You run the TV show well known among the business audience as Firing Line with Bill Kutik®. What are you trying to accomplish with it and how do you make decisions on inviting your guests? And curiously, what do you feel today to be at the opposite side of the table?

Hi Alexey, thank you for inviting me.

When I started planning the TV show in late 2014, I realized that all the various shows I had produced since 1998 (HR Tech, the Radio Show) were all based on the same bedrock principle: Guests talk about what they’re thinking and doing, not what software they’re selling or which software they might be using.

The analyst relations executive at Workday, Geoff McDonald, asked me to repeat that after I said it because he thought it was the best description of “thought leadership” he had ever heard. I was flattered.

Because I came to HR technology from years in commercial journalism (doing work for The New York Times and The Boston Globe), I have brought with me some values that are now sadly considered old-fashioned. Namely that articles (or blogs), conference presentations and interviews (audio or video) should be in the best interests solely of the reader, listener or viewer – the audience – and definitely not necessarily in the interests of any vendor involved.

I was ruthless about that at HR Tech, where happily the owner Ken Kahn completely supported the idea that we never sold speaking slots to vendors. Imagine, attendees are already paying to see the content. Should anyone sell it a second time so it’s no longer in their best interests?

So I started Firing Line with Bill Kutik® to continue providing HR practitioners with objective information about the latest technology trends without marketing or favoritism. It was the same with the Radio Show, which I did for seven years.

Decisions on the guests for both are made simply based on who can best deliver value to the audience.

As for being on the other side of the table… being a good interviewer means taking second chair to the person being interviewed. Teasing out and highlighting what they know. Since much of what I do are interviews and panels (except for my columns), I don’t get to do much of the talking. So I love whenever the roles are reversed! Look how much more I get to say here than you do, Alexey!

  1. You provide the HR Technology Column at Human Resource Executive Online®. How do you choose your topics to be covered there and what other projects do you undertake?

Being a columnist is the most difficult job in journalism. Others only write when something happens; columnists have to fill the space (in my case) every four weeks, even if nothing has happened.

Of course, HR technology is so dynamic that I can’t think of a month when nothing happened. Because I like my columns to be in-depth, I often write them after attending full-day analyst meetings or multi-day user conferences. That gives me the kind of perspective a good column needs.

Thirty years ago, I learned from the world’s leading computer industry commentator (an old college friend, Esther Dyson) that vendors do most of the innovation in the industry. Certainly there were terrifically innovative end-users like Cisco and Walmart, but they were the exception.

So my columns tend to focus on what the vendors are doing. In addition, I try to use them to explain to the practitioners how the software industry works. Think about it. Practitioners may buy new solutions every three years or so from someone who sells them every day! The match-up is so unfair. I try to level the playing field. In that regard, one of my favorite revelations was that salesmen for large, on-premise enterprise software regularly asked for four-times the price they were willing to settle for!

Now that’s exactly what the street urchins in Cairo trying to sell you cheap souvenirs do. It was never universally true, but I was shocked to discover it and thought it important to tell HR practitioners about it.

  1. You started the HR Technology® Conference & Exhibition (also known as ‘HR Tech’ which probably gave the name to the whole industry). What was the mission behind the idea to establish such an event in 1998, how it was changing during the time and what other events should HR managers keep their eyes on?

The mission from Day One was to help make HR practitioners more tech savvy. Not to understand the bits and bytes of it, but to understand the business benefits that technology could bring them. And offer that to them from their colleagues, senior HR executives, and not from vendors who too often do the educating at other events, sometimes to their own benefit.

Our mission enlarged, when I realized there was a vast audience of HR generalists who somehow thought technology did not apply to them. We started a major campaign – with the help of the most popular U.S. bloggers at the time such as Laurie Ruettimann, “HR Ringleader” Trish McFarlane, “HR Capitalist” Kris Dunn, “HR Bartender” Sharlyn Lauby and Dwane Lay – to convince them their career advancement required it. I’m often guilty of exaggeration, and I remember once writing that if they didn’t get tech savvy, “They should start looking for a large cardboard box and nice place under a highway to live in it.” Over the top.

HR Tech was almost alone at the beginning. Now there are similar events around the world: Australia, China, India, Dubai, Bahrain, Norway, Amsterdam, Paris and London. I was once invited to an event in Moscow, but organizers never got beyond a brochure (which I still have) describing me in Russian. I love that because all four of my grandparents came from Russia, where I’ve been told my family name translates into “little cat,” not kitten. “Kooteek”: a term of endearment.

And don’t forget the show that started it all organized by IHRIM (International Association of Human Resources Information Management), begun decades earlier than HR Tech. Its next annual conference is scheduled for March 2017 in Toronto.

  1. SAP, Oracle and Workday, sometimes called as SOW, deliver most integrated and complex HR Tech solutions on today’s market. What are the core advantages they have, in terms of daily HR needs?

What I like to call the “Big Three” specialize in meeting the most complex needs of global corporations with more than 5,000 employees. Among the advantages they bring is being able to deal with specific HR needs in dozens of countries, especially in payroll.

Our largest analyst firm, Gartner, often publishes a “Magic Quadrant,” which graphically compares the “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision” of all HCM vendors. The leaders are in the upper right corner of the four-box labeled “leaders.”

The Big Three are always there. But practitioners too often make the mistake of tearing out the leaders box and making it their short list. Without considering that their company, for example, may have just one location in the US with just 600 employees. So that’s not necessarily the way to go.

  1. What are the market expectations from HR technologies to appear in the nearest future? Briefly.

Everyone is touting predictive analytics, most especially “proscriptive” analytics that suggest what you should do to fix a situation revealed by the data. HR departments need to move very slowly on this and insist that vendors go beyond their canned demo. And instead, load the company’s own data – say from 18 to six months ago – and then test to see if the predictions turned out right in the last six months, which HR already knows! Still very much a work in progress.

  1. Do we really need all that ‘bells-and-whistles’ HR Tech vendors deliver as stand alone, OEM or integrated solutions?

It’s often said that most people use only 10 percent of the functional capabilities in Microsoft Word. In my case, I know that’s true because it is marvelous software for writing a book, keeping track of footnotes, re-numbering as they are added or removed, automatically putting them at the bottom of the correct pages, or even aggregating them for a section at the end.

The same is true of HR software. But with SaaS, customers are generally not paying for the capabilities they’re not using and someday may use them. Many are terrifically useful, and I’m glad they are there.

  1. You follow the evolution of the recruiting systems since 1988 when it was ever evolved to the present digital times. In this new era, which are the powerful approaches to be used as effective recruiting solutions? What recruiters should never sweep aside and take to the future? Only applicants…

I was present at the birth of the first Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in 1988, as you mention. What has happened in that last 10 years is the ATS has come to be seen as the essential, but largely administrative, system involved in the Talent Acquisition process. Much like an HRIS, HRMS or what’s now called Core HR is essential but not very strategic.

And just as with Core HR, where people realized the real strategic advantage was in the programs that were attached to it (later called the Talent Management suite), the center of value in recruiting has moved away from the ATS to what were once called “edge applications” but now more often are called “Recruitment Marketing.”

I love to point out that the reason an ATS is called an Applicant Tracking System is it cannot deal with candidates who have not yet applied. Yet the very best recruiters are spending time dealing with them, not just sorting through applications and resumes.

I admit that focus on candidates can seem a little like the famous Groucho Marx joke: “I wouldn’t want to join any club that would have me as a member!” But the War for Talent is all about identifying and attracting candidates, not just throwing out a baited fishing hook (job board postings) and hauling into the boat everything that bites on it.

Obviously, I could go on and one about this topic. But I’ll spare your readers and hope they have stuck with us this far.

If you want to share this interview the reference to Bill Kutik and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

How to Adapt to IT Recruiting Trends in 2016 • Recruitee Blog

it recruiting trends header

Written by Hagi Trinh | Originally published at Recruitee Blog.

“In this market, where engineering supply is severely out of whack with demand, where good people are rarely actively looking for jobs, and where contingency recruiters get at least $25,000 per hire, the biggest problem isn’t filtering through a bunch of engaged job seekers. The problem is engaging them in the first place.”Aline Lerner

smaller Hagi Trinh - Recruitee
Hagi Trinh, Recruitment writer at

Aline published this 9 months ago, yet the words have never been truer.

People working in the IT sector are in higher and higher demand. People recruiting them are in shorter and shorter supply. If you’re not one of the big guys, don’t do this:

Expect capable developers to send in CV with keywords such as “HTML.” Filter the system by searching for keywords such as “HTML” to put their names on top of some list. Ask them to go back and forth for six interviews with six different persons. Expect them to wait for another few weeks before the decision is made.

This “standard” recruiting process doesn’t apply anymore.

To get that top talent, you have to go out of your way, off the beaten path.

Guess what, some brave folks already did. More and more are following their tactics:

1 – Referral becomes your highest chance of getting high-quality candidates.

2 – The first contact is to establish mutual interests. Job advertising comes second.

3 – The entire application process should be completed on mobile.

4 – Big brands don’t always fit your hiring need.

5 – Hire the person, not the role.

6 – Build your own trial test to get your own fit candidates.

7 – What you sell is interesting challenges and recognition, in the form of employer brand.

8 – The need for speed is crucial when it comes to offering jobs.

Let’s go through them.

(you can click on each trend below to tweet it)

Sourcing stage

1 — Referral becomes your highest chance of getting high-quality candidates

What to do: Offer a clear referral recruiting bonus, from $2,000 and above is market rate for good developers. Sit down with all your employees one by one. Leave the potential candidates’ availability behind, and only focus on your hiring standards. Have around three of those up your sleeve, for example: be smart, get things done, collaborate well. Go through all your employees’ networks with the standards in mind and a spreadsheet. Save time for everybody, just input the referrer’s name and link to the potential candidate’s profile. The name and contact info you can figure out later on your own. Keep the employees in the loop when you reach out, because they can help pitch in too. Together, you prove to the potential candidates that you are not just another CV-monger.

2 — The first contact is to establish mutual interests. Job advertising comes second

What to do: Comment on their work. Most developers share it on their GitHub’s accounts. Pinpoint the things the potential candidates do well and tell them that. You appreciate their expertise, so, you want to have their service. Your email will rise above the mediocre cold ones. Good developers like that. Good developers reply to that.

3 — The entire application process should be completed on mobile

Why? Let’s say you are selling an ideal place – the ideal place – to an IT expert, but you force them to apply via a bureaucratic, outdated system with buttons and forms clearly designed for desktops in the 90s. Talk about the irony.

What to do: Make all communication and application accessible and doable on mobile.

Screening Stage

4 — Big brands don’t always fit your hiring need

You’d feel impressed if the candidates used to work for Google, Facebook, and the likes. But hold yourself for a moment there. Look more into what the candidates have actually done. Ask yourself again and again: Is that really a match to what I need?

What to do: Get the candidates on the phone and ask them about their latest project. What is it? Why did they choose to do it? What is its impact on the company? Only very passionate people know every nook and cranny of their project. Proceed with them right away. If by any chance you have doubts about the candidate’s honesty, get references from those who have worked directly with them.

Interviewing Stage

5 — Hire the person, not the role

Looking at the speed of IT development, the role you craft so carefully now could very well be in the trash bin in the next 2 years. You don’t need subject matter expert. You need someone who is an expert at learning and picking up new subject matters over and over again.

What to do: Ask if the person has been trying a variety of tools and programming languages in the past. What did they make out of that? Which one are they most proud of? And why?

For more judging criteria of general good coding practice, you can use the Joel Test by Joel Spolsky (co-founder of Trello and Fog Creek Software, and CEO of Stack Exchange).

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you make a build in one step?
  3. Do you make daily builds?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  7. Do you have a spec?
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  10. Do you have testers?
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing?

Make sure you read his elaboration on each question. Then you’ll have a pretty good idea about the candidate’s ability to keep things in control through ups and downs.

6 — Build your own trial test to get your own fit candidates

There are more and more platforms offering tests and ranking developers, so why bother? If you use ready-made tests, the candidates learn nothing from your context, and you learn nothing from what the candidates can offer to solve your own problems. Offering an opportunity for both sides to get to know each other is well worth the hassle.

What to do: Extract a part of the current workload that needs to be done. Write a brief with background information, the resources the candidates can use, and the deliverables for each stage of the trial process (for examples: evaluation, concept, prototype, code). If the trial test needs more than an hour of work, play fair and square: offer to pay the candidates. A standard rate from Automattic is $25 per hour.

7 — What you sell is interesting challenges and recognition, in the form of an employer brand

Foosball and free lunch are nice, but they just aren’t the things good developers go after.

What to do: Communicate the company’s vision and culture through and through. But don’t paint an unreal picture or set up unreal expectations. Provide concrete examples of current or past employees that you walk the talk.

Offering Stage

8 — The need for speed is crucial when it comes to offering jobs

Yes, good developers are in high demand, as you’ve been aware of all along. It would be hopelessly naive if you think they would just sit and wait for your decision. Every day waiting is an open invitation for them to choose other companies.

What to do:

“If you have conviction about a candidate at the end of interview day, you spend the next day closing.”John Ciancutti


Every point listed above is so counter-intuitive compared to the old way. They require you to put in more effort, more attention, more time.

But if you don’t, you will have to spend even more effort, even more attention, even more time to fix a bad hire.

Even if you can only apply one point to your recruiting process for now, start anyway. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it’ll make.

Have you discovered other interesting trends in recruiting IT talent? Tell us in the comment below, tweet, or email!

Source: How to Adapt to IT Recruiting Trends in 2016 • Recruitee Blog